Washington: Comedian Kevin Hart will host the next Academy Awards ceremony in February 2019, the Ride Along actor said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars,” Hart wrote. The Academy Awards are the film industry’s highest honours.
The announcement came hours after trade publication the Hollywood Reporter posted a story calling the Oscars host position “the least wanted job in Hollywood”.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organises the Oscars and normally announces the host, followed up with a tweet welcoming Hart “to the family”. Hart, 39, who also starred in 2017 film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, follows talk show host Jimmy Kimmel who took on the gig in 2018 and 2017.
“I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time,” Hart wrote on his Instagram page. The job of hosting the Oscars is one of the most prestigious but also the most difficult in show business as hosts have to navigate the expectations of the A-list audience in the theatre and millions tuning in on television, with a combination of topical and insider jokes.
Hart, who is African American, is one of just a handful of black Oscar hosts over the past 90 years, including Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg and Sammy Davis Jr.
His selection comes at a time when the Academy is under scrutiny for increasing diversity among its own membership, and among the films and performers nominated for Oscars.
Oscar nominations will be announced on 22 January, with the televised ceremony taking place live in Hollywood on 24 February.